In an effort to rebuild Pittsburgh’s presence on the national stage, Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto traveled to Seattle, Washington this week to participate in three major conferences addressing issues from education and public health to the future of urban libraries to the economic sustainability of cities. The Mayor-Elect traveled at the invitation of The Grable Foundation, The Sprout Fund, and The National League of Cities, the latter of which welcomed the City of Pittsburgh back as a member.
10,000 youth leaders will be converging in Pittsburgh this fall for Power Shift. The conference is being held to help to build a stronger climate movement to “fight fracking, divest from fossil fuels, demand climate justice, and build a clean energy economy that works for everyone.” Usually, Power Shift is a Washington, D.C. event, but for the first time it will be held here in Pittsburgh (October 18 – 21, 2013).
Even though mental illness touches so many lives–every year, 1 in 4 American adults endure the trials of a mental health condition–there still remains a stigma attached to it. “Writing Away the Stigma: With True Stories Well Told” is a five-part creative nonfiction writing workshop for those who have experienced mental health issues themselves or through their relationship with a family member or friend. It’s the creation of Creative Nonfiction and Staunton Farm Foundations and is open to residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
We wrote last month about the Good Neighbor Campaign. It was created to facilitate better relations between off-campus student residents and long-term residents in the Oakland neighborhood. The University of Pittsburgh and various neighborhood groups are participating in this effort. The campaign includes educating student residents on how to be better neighbors and to encourage responsible partying. It also includes promoting conversation between non-student and student residents (approximately 65 percent of Oakland’s residents are enrolled in college or graduate school).
Pittsburgh Westinghouse is one of 10 high schools in the Pittsburgh Public School district. Located in Homewood and established in 1917, it has an especially rich musical heritage. It’s alumni includes Billy Strayhorn (jazz composer, known for “Lush Life” and “Take the “A” Train”), Erroll Garner (jazz pianist and composer), Ahmad Jamal (jazz pianist), and Frank Cunimondo (jazz pianist). But right now, budget cuts have hit their music program hard–they have lost their instrumental program and their chorus teacher and one teacher is handling it all.
America’s public schools have always been one of our best democratizing institutions and yet they are increasingly under attack from all sides. It’s not only the reoccurring budget cuts, it’s also the efforts towards privatization, and the pressure to teach to the test (or face punitive measures).
Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research is a bipartisan research team which conducted a nationwide poll of voters last month on early childhood education (pre-kindergarten). They found that an overwhelming 86% of American voters ranked it as an important national priority — second only to increasing jobs and economic growth. Even more important as concerns setting public policy, 70% were in support of a having the federal government do more to achieve better early learning.
Part of being a good neighbor means doing things like keeping your property clean and orderly, minimizing your noise outdoors, and leaving the trash out on the right day. But students living in an apartment or house for the first time often don’t know even the basics of being a responsible neighbor: What day is garbage pick-up? What’s recyclable in the City of Pittsburgh and when? Who do you call for information or help from the City? What rights do renters have?
Saturday, August 3rd, saw a celebration of some of the best of our area’s local youth at the seventh annual 2013 Shyne Awards. These awards give young adults (ages 13 -19) the opportunity to “shyne” by recognizing positive achievements in such categories as academics, the arts and service to community and the ministry. The awards were founded by The Darkins Group’s Darnell Drewery and Orlana Darkins Drewery.
The Northside Old Timers is a non profit group of current and former Northsiders dedicated to improving the lives of youths by fostering peace, unity and harmony in 19 different communities in Pittsburgh’s Northside. They work primarily with children from kindergarten to the eighth grade as they have found this age-range to be the most susceptible to positive change. Their motto is “Save One, Job Done” and they work to reduce violence by creating activities which enable these youngsters to get to know their peers in other neighborhoods — “changing the way children think about one another in order to change the way they act towards one another.”